In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave 3 Tablespoons of water until very hot. Add the dark brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda into 1 Tablespoon of cold water. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the granulated sugar and shortening with a mixer. Add in the dark brown sugar syrup and the dissolved baking soda that was set aside earlier. Beat until blended. Set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until the dough is stiff.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper. You want the dough about 1/8″ thick. Use a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter to cut out the cookies.
Place the cookies about 1/2″ apart on the parchment lined baking sheet. Generously sprinkle the tops of the cookies with sugar crystals and gently press them into the cookie dough.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. If you want a crispier cookie, bake an additional minute or two.
Transfer the cookies to cooling racks after they have been out of the oven for a few minutes.